Monday, December 21, 2009

The Perfect Storm

Alternate Title:
Adrenaline Rush du Jour

It may seem as if I have included meaningless minutiae in this story, but I promise the details are all elements of the perfect storm.

When I arrived at the farm yesterday to visit Jaz, my normal parking spot was occupied by the temporary goat pen. I backed my truck next to the hay truck.

This is not yet another gratuitous photo of Jaz at his cutest, wearing his elf hat. The important part of this photo is that thing to which he is tied. It's a chute. It's 10-12 ft. long, and at this end (about 2 ft. to the left of Jaz's nose) is the "door frame," which is probably 8 ft. tall. It has a base, and I'm guessing this whole thing weighs 1,000 lbs. My truck was parked maybe 30-35 ft. behind Jaz, with the front facing his butt.

I was wearing a light fleece vest, with my cell phone in the left pocket and my camera in the right pocket. It was chilly, but as I worked in the sun, I removed the vest and draped it on the far rail, a little to the left of where Jaz's nose is. A bucket of grooming implements sat on the ground at the left end. After grooming Jaz and hand grazing him, I turned him back out with the youngsters.

I brought Rover out and tied him to the same spot where Jaz had been. I wanted to check him out, see how well he responded to pressure — good; how well he stood still — not so good; manners and respect — also not so good. His previous owner allowed him to be pushy. He kept trying to butt and/or rub me with his head. No, you big goober, we don't do that. I groomed him, and he was good about being touched all over. He was very good about picking up his feet, not leaning, etc. ... until we got to the last foot, the right front. I asked for the foot and he gave it, but before I even started to pick it, he yanked it out of my hand and slammed it down. That foot no sooner hit the ground, than my kick hit him just above the knee.

Allow me to interject here that if I had done that to Poco or Jaz, they'd have been like, "Oh crap, I've been naughty, I better stand still." Not Rover. Rover pulled back. Hard. So hard that the whole chute started sliding along the ground, pulling me with it. The bucket of implements became airborne. He flipped the chute toward himself, which by the grace of God, sent me flying out of harm's way as he dragged the chute, my vest now under it on the ground, crashing toward my truck.

I jumped to my feet, but I didn't want to run toward him, figuring that would freak him out even more. Instead, I stayed where I was and quietly started saying things like "Easy, big guy. You're all right. You can stop now." Honestly, I don't know exactly what I said, but it worked. He stopped with his butt about 4 ft. from the front bumper of my truck, gave one final fling of his head, and righted the chute. My vest was still under it.

I walked toward him slowly, still speaking in as soothing a tone of voice as I could muster, considering I was shaking from head to foot. It took a little doing to untie him because the rope was all wonky and twisted from when he flipped the chute. I walked him and let him graze until we were both breathing normally again, then put him in a stall to chill.

Rover is fine. At no point did the chute even touch him. I imagine his neck and shoulders are sore today from dragging and flinging that heavy contraption 25 ft. from where it was.

I am fine. The chute hit my right leg at the exact spot where I fell when I got thrown from Poco last May. I landed on that same spot on the other side, so I have matching bruises on both legs. Hot bath, Arnica Montana, and Aleve.

My cell phone and camera are fine. I don't know how they managed to stay in my unzipped pockets and survive the pummeling.

It's only a good story because no one got hurt, and I can laugh about it now. For one thing, the sight of Rover, all wild-eyed, backing toward my truck, brought to mind the scene from the Disney-Pixar movie Cars, when Lightning McQueen and Mater go tractor tipping. He looked just like one of those dopey, rusty, red tractors.

And the other thing that made me chuckle? I'll bet he never yanks a foot away from anyone ever again.


Cactus Jack Splash said...

Glad everything turned out well.

Paint Girl said...

How scary!! So glad you guys didn't get hurt! I know how scary it is when horses pull back, Brandy is notorious for pulling back. I have to be so careful when I tie her. Hope your aches and pains get better quick.
Hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas!!

Tammy Vasa said...

But doesn't their power just amaze you? Glad all is well.

cdncowgirl said...

Wow! The stars were aligned to protect you, the horse and the miscellaneous pieces of property!
btw I probably would have used the same correction (kick or slap) Looks like Mr Rover has gotten away with walking all over people with his former owner. Wonder how long it will take for him to figure out people aren't doormats? lol

AareneX said...

I'm just glad everyone is okay.

And also: Rover, don't be a knothead!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Crazy! I've only had one horse pull it's foot away from me so far, and that is a horse at the horse rescue. He has sore feet due to some bone injuries and suspensory pain.
He is always touchy about one particular foot, but I was taught how to pick up and handle it much more slowly and gently and he is more open-minded about having his foot handled afterwards.

I'm glad you weren't seriously injured. Horses are stupid sometimes. Why a 1,000 lb creature acts so mindless sometimes, while being so smart to be able to learn all the details and rules to be ridden, is beyond me.The last time my horse lost her mind and yanked back, she broke the welds on our pipe rail fence, knocking it into me and slamming me into the ground and breaking my knee.

You are very lucky indeed. It could have ended up so much worse.

Take care,

Desert Rose said...

Ya...sometimes those unexpected things are the ones that get you!!! So glad everyone is ok, as you know it could have been BAD!

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